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28.2 Staying in the rural: exploring multifaceted practices and rationales

Thursday, June 29, 2023
13:45 - 15:15


Filipa Perdigão Ribeiro
University of the Algarve | CiTUR Algarve

Why do lifestyle migrant entrepreneurs stay in rural Algarve (Portugal)?


Lifestyle migration has been widely studied in terms of motivations for both moving and settling in a destination, with factors such as climate, perceived quality of life and life-stage all playing a dominant role, particularly since the majority of lifestyle migrants have traditionally been in later stages of life. More recently, lifestyle migration entrepreneurs have also been gaining more attention, with the focus of study often being the ways in which a balance is achieved between lifestyle and business orientations. This presentation reports on some of the findings of the ongoing, exploratory T-rELMA (Tourism-related Entrepreneurial Lifestyle Migration in the Algarve) research project, financed by the Portuguese national Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
We address the migrants’ practices and rationale for staying, or wishing to stay, in the rural Algarve, by analysing the results of an online survey and in-depth interviews. Emerging findings show that these mostly well-educated lifestyle migrant entrepreneurs, from various national and professional backgrounds, are generally either already well settled or are intending to stay. Despite encountering complex and multiple challenges to their business activities, including possible repel factors such as bureaucratic obstacles, language barriers, and difficulties in obtaining information, professional services and staff, as well as having faced external crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and wildfires, their narratives reveal that lifestyle orientations and evolving place attachments remain prioritised. These retain factors mean that this migrant group may be considered as ‘stayer types’.
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Dr. Sylwia Urbańska
assistant professor
University of Warsaw

Staying, housing practices and resistance to the patriarchal families. Empowerment strategies of working class rural woman in Poland.


The aim is to answer, what alternative strategies are developed by women from the rural working class, which decided to implement emancipatory scenarios (e.g. divorce, resistance to violence), while still staying in the patriarchal social world of the catholic and (post)agricultural rural areas of the Eastern Poland.

I will analyze individual and gendered family housing pathways (Mostowska, Dębska 2020; Clapham 2002) of emancipating women. I will focus at the relationship between life-strategies of exit from patriarchal families, and the redefinitions of patterns of staying, perceptions of home ownership and family property management. The analysis will also include local rural patterns of the cultures of migration and staying (Stockdale, Haartsen 2018), which are highly gendered and class differentiated. Including the answer to the question, who has the right to stay, who should leave, and how women negotiate it. Analysis of the process of empowerment of women through their alternative housing strategies or work-housing barters in villages will also take into account significant processes, such as rural aging, depopulation, transition of agriculture, gentrification. All of them release specific housing resources, change cultures of staying and finally create contexts for interesting gender changes and rural women (dis)empowerment in Poland.

The analysis is derived from the qualitative research in the Eastern Poland since 2018. The study combine biographical methods (30 narratives) and ethnography (participant observations). The research brought interesting findings about the rural working class women emancipation in rural communities, in the context of the multi-dimensional transformation of rural areas in Poland.

Dr. Yvon Le Caro
Assistant Professor
Rennes 2 University

The residential attractiveness of the countryside : opportunity or misunderstanding for the farmers?


The relevance of rural-urban studies to explore exurban and back-to-the-land migrations has been well established. This paper seeks to explore this issue from the farmers perspective. The French context, adding a residential attractiveness of the countryside that is noticeable in all the developped countries and a demographic growth that makes exception in Europe, put French farmers face to a critical issue of cohabitation. A previous research established the ability of French farmers to relate to their neighbours.
From a data-set of 13 focus groups and 16 « with wellies » farm interviews conducted in western France from 2009 to 2011, a first step of the analysis enabled a general mapping of the urban spatial features that are noticeable in the countryside. In this paper, we investigate more acutely this data set with three questions. The first one is « how does the residential attractiveness change the uses and the values of agricultural spaces at local scale? ». The second one is « how farmers deal with new neighbours to maintain or increase the resilience of their farm systems ? » The third one is « How does a rural residence impact the representations of agriculture ? ».
Our results suggest that comtemporary scientific litterature under-estimates the ability of farmers to incorporate urban values from the experience of vicinity with urban neighbours and the role of rural settlements to build in the general population more balanced representations of farming than the metropolitan ones.
Dr. Stefan Kordel
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Aspirations and capabilities: staying orientation of refugees in rural areas


This paper explores reasons why refugees continue to stay in rural areas after the end of the asylum procedure. The study applies the aspirations-capabilities-approach (Carling/Schewel 2018) to understand the decision-making processes and to identify factors that influence refugees’ staying orientation. It is based on secondary data, qualitative in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with refugees conducted in eight rural districts in Germany. Findings indicate that refugees construct rural areas as safe places to raise children due to straightforwardness and social control and stress the often friendly and supportive rural society in general and volunteers in particular. They aim to continue to stay due to a variety of reasons such as having a ‘good’ job, taking a language and integration course, or a school place for oneself, a partner and the kids, accessibility and availability of social networks. For those reliant on social welfare, underlying legal conditions such as the residence rule may apply, too. However, individual or household life events such as graduation from a language or integration course or school, family reunification or the termination of a job can result in a re-negotiation of the residential location choice. Especially in areas close to cities as well as touristic regions, the capability to stay may be limited by a tense housing market and discrimination by landlords. This highlights the important role of various actors and institutions in facilitating or hindering the integration of refugees in rural communities and shows impressively how the decision-making processes are shaped by aspirations and capabilities.

Session host

Tialda Haartsen
Professor Rural Geography
University of Groningen

Annett Steinführer
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl